Mayor Haddix on Sany, walking signs, vacant building ordinance

Don Haddix's picture

To say the least, last week was eventful.

There was the Sany development meeting with DAPC. I voiced some expectations to be addressed before coming before the City Council, which seemed well received by the Sany officials in attendance.

I expect the areas still needing work or just clarification will be handled in additional meetings between DAPC and Sany.

On walking signs, the continuation was already requested in the packet. It was a procedural one of giving the Planning Commission an opportunity to make comments and suggestions first. There is a will on council to do something to bring walking signs into line with Peachtree City’s philosophy.

As for the vacant homes ordinance, that has been a hot item and will continue to be until a resolution is finalized. There is a need or we would not be working on it.

What happened was a new tool created outside of Peachtree City for the hundreds of cities with vacant home problems was discovered Thursday afternoon. I didn’t find out about it until after 6:30 p.m., along with one council member. There was not sufficient time to get more information or pass everything along to the rest of council.

So, the vacant home ordinance was continued to give staff time to research the new tool and see it would fulfill our needs without adding a new ordinance. With it already continued and having never been opened for public comment there was nothing more to say at that time.

Where does that leave it? If the new tool fulfills our needs it will be used along with our current ordinances. If not the vacant home ordinance will return.

Have we heard from Realtors voicing the position of the Realtor Board? Yes, we received around a hundred copy-and-paste emails from Realtors located from Savannah to Jasper. Still, this type ordinance has already been enacted in hundreds of cities across the nation and has been upheld in at least 11 legal challenges. Therefore it is neither illegal nor a violation of property rights.

To be fair, it should be said here not all Realtors and brokers oppose this kind of ordinance.

For those homeowners and HOAs with vacant homes problems, occupied homes violating existing code and other issues next door and in their communities affecting quality of life, health and home values, we are moving forward.

We just upgraded out park monitors’ authority to allow them now to issue citations, are reviewing and improving existing ordinances and working on streamlining and increasing our code enforcement policing.

Our concerns are not limited to homes. For a number of years there have been increasing incidents of vandalism at recreation fields and other locations. Backing down on defending our quality of life, health, safety and property values is not an option.

Regarding the approval of completing the path connection to the MacDuff tunnel and RAM property area, that is a more important project than many realize. It will alleviate a major safety problem of carts in Cedarcroft, improve the cart route by no longer going through a residential area and be in place when the West Gateway Bridge is eventually built to accommodate traffic from Wynnmeade and Planterra.

This will result in increased traffic to the RAM properties along Ga. Highway 54, which should greatly improve business and hopefully pay for the costs of the project over a relatively short term.

With this path connection authorized and paid for, Paschall Road scheduled for opening in about three months, the 54/CSX bridge already open for use and other projects and goals being completed, we are getting things done.

That leaves a lot yet to do, but we will be moving forward as fast as our resources allow.

[Don Haddix was elected mayor of Peachtree City in 2009, Previously, he had served two years as a council member. His email is dhaddix@peachtree-city.org.]

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
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Joined: 10/26/2005
Realtor "influence" on vacant house ordinance

The Realtor lobby (RPAC) is awash in money from high contributions during the boom times - and limited spending. Our neighbor who is a Realtor and a broker (and knowledgeable and competent) told me that RPAC wanted to fund a lawsuit against this ordinance and the mass e-mail campaign was actually created in Washington. No real purpose to the lawsuit other than posturing and possibly improving Realtor image, although all that is lost on me. I don't think the city should be intimidated by that nonsense, even though I am against the original ordinance. Hope this new tool solves the problem and is less intrusive.

I think another thing he mentioned about Realtor opposition was that some other city or county adopted a similar ordinance and targeted the Realtor listing the property as the entity to pay the fine since they may well be the only local person you could find with foreclosed houses and a confusing ownership situation with merged and failed banks. There is some merit to that idea since the Realtor still makes money out of the transaction and no one else does, but that would really get some hackles raised.

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
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Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Influence

Yes, they threatened a lawsuit. But there having already been at least 11 such suits in other places that failed so it really had no intimidation factor.

As well one cited a successful lawsuit as if it applied. Problem there was it applied to rental property issues.

The mass emails were machine generated. When I pointed out to the representative who called me all it was doing was annoying us and not having the desired effect he turned off the machine and the emails ended.

No, we would not target the Realtor. That is nonsense to think they are responsible for fines, etc.

A real big issue here for them is Fulton is looking to pass an ordinance that would be very strict and loaded with fines and requirements like hiring property maintenance companies, as a large number of other cities have done. Hence all the emails coming from Realtors who do not do business in Fayette.

We did not back off because of the Realtor campaign. We did so to give time to check out an alternative method that didn't require a new ordinance and might prove more effective.

As well the email campaign was targeted on commercial, not residential. I was told if we had just pulled the commercial portion the campaign would have ended.

We are going to do something. The question is what and how.